Journalist Michael Hastings joined John B. Wells to present a behind-the-scenes portrait of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal believed the U.S. would prevail in Afghanistan even though the Russians and the British both failed to achieve military victories there, Hastings explained. He described how McChrystal was able to strong-arm the White House into supporting a military increase in Afghanistan from 30,000 to 100,000 troops. Hastings rejected the terrorism-related reasons given by McChrystal for U.S. action in Afghanistan, noting that at the time of the expansion to 100,000 troops there were less than 100 al-Qaeda members in the country (and Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan). "One of the strange aspects of the global War on Terror... most of our resources have been spent going after people who had nothing to do with what happened on September 11th," he observed.
Hastings commented on the seeming incongruence between the horrific events he witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan and the military press conferences he attended that offered only glowing reports on the situations in those countries. He shared a startling story from the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he witnessed barefoot Afghan soldiers getting high and their commanding officer admitting to a friendship with Taliban members. Hastings credited his explosive Rolling Stone article on what was really going on in Afghanistan with leading President Obama to fire McChrystal. The story was investigated by the Pentagon, he added. Hastings also related a deeply personal tragedy that happened to him in 2007, when his girlfriend was killed by al-Qaeda linked terrorists in Baghdad.
The final hour of the show featured Open Lines.
Update on Helicopter Drills
In the first hour, independent journalist David Seaman reported on helicopter drills over major cities. Media outlets in Miami and Huston have confirmed that military exercises involving helicopters took place over those cities, Seaman said, noting that social networks indicate similar drills occurred elsewhere in the country. Gunfire was also heard by witnesses, he added. "I've lived in America my whole life and I don't remember any military helicopter drills when I was a child," Seaman stated, puzzled as to why there was not more of a reaction to this news. He questioned claims that the exercise was to prepare for overseas combat, speculating that it may have been training to quell public unrest in the event of massive currency devaluation or an announcement of war with Iran.